You're eager to switch jobs. You have caffeine pumping through your veins and motivation seeping from your pores. Yet some hours later, the progress you've made in furthering your job search is dispiriting to say the least.
The chances are you're allowing your time to be squandered through a lack of focus on the tasks at hand.
I came across the infographic below and was reflecting on two things. Firstly how staying on top of these issues has really allowed me to maximise productivity in my professional life; but secondly how the very same time thieves come into play for those in job search mode. In fact they're even more pronounced, because the scope for being distracted at home is often even greater than it is in an office environment.
Building on the ideas in the infographic, I would recommend:
Setting aside specific time windows for different job search tasks. It's amazing how much more you can achieve if you've given yourself a 45, 60 or 75 minute window in which to achieve something.
During these time windows, remove all other distractions. Turn off notifications. If emails, texts, tweets or skypes are coming in we simply don't want to know about these until the task at hand has been fully completed. Make sure your family understand the importance of you being allowed to concentrate undisturbed during these periods.
Keep a record / spreadsheet of the applications you have submitted and the enquiries / referral requests you have made. In part so that you can track the effectiveness of each in producing interview requests; and in part so that you can easily (productively) follow-up with your most promising leads.
Having a target for the number of job application / referral requests / requests for help you're going to circulate each day / week / month. One of the biggest time drains is actually the HUGE volume of content there is out there that can easily eat into your jobhunting time. Each article may feel like they are adding to your job search knowledge (which is great up to a point); but if at the end of the day / week / month they are directly responsible for you missing your job application / referral targets then your content diet simply has to be trimmed (try subscribing to our Candidate Essentials newsletter if you want to scale back and have just one source of candidate tips to review each week).
Focus on quality vs. quantity. The last piece of advice - which I'll make a centrepiece of one of the next Candidate Essentials articles - is ensuring you are using your time both productively and effectively. It's one thing to be productive - getting a lot done in the available time. But it's another thing altogether to be using that productive time to the greatest possible effect. Take steps now to ensure you are removing distractions and being as productive as possible; then we'll look at being more effective in your use of time in the coming days.
How To Keep Your Job Search On Track (By Avoiding These 7 Productivity Killers)
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